Arizona Central previews this weeked’s Phoenix Cactus Comicon, and kicks it off with a startling discovery.

Comic conventions are not just for comic books anymore. And they’re not just for geeky 30-year-old guys who still live in their parents’ house.

Comicons, as they’re called, are appealing to a wider range of people these days, including women of all ages.

Okay okay, we kid. The rest of the article is a really nice preview that indicates that this huge market is getting soime of the comic-con goodness that the rest of the nation has been enjoying:

Matt Solberg of Tempe, director of the comicon and owner of Planet Neo comics store in Tempe, said the rise in superhero movies, the broadcast of Japanese animation on television, the popularity of manga (Japanese comic books) in library programs and the crossover of creators from film to comics all are attracting more fans.

For example, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and writer/director/actor Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy) have written comics.

“It’s drawing in people who may not have normally read comics but respect those creators,” Solberg said.

He said 432 people attended the first comicon he organized in 2001, but he expects at least 2,500 this weekend. The convention moved to Mesa this year and expanded to two full days and a preview night because it outgrew the Glendale Civic Center.